RANKED! The Biggest ’90s Heartthrobs
Photo: Paramount Pictures
Back in the ‘90s, the celebrity crush game was strong. Teens would spend hours daydreaming about their favorite stars, hoping to one day meet, marry, and live happily-ever-after with them.
Nowadays, with social media and leaked photos and reality shows, it’s become easier to blur the line between famous person and fan, but back in the ‘90s, the most one could hope for was a poster and a slew of fan mail that would, in most cases, go unread. Still, for those who grew up in the ‘90s, it was a blissful time of daydreams and diary entries. So sit back, relax and let us take you on a journey through the mind and hearts of a generation. These are the biggest heartthrobs of the ‘90s.
Blast from the past: Celebrities, Then And Now
10. Danielle Fishel - 'Boy Meets World'
This was a classic ugly duckling story, except Danielle Fishel (or Topanga, as she will forever be called) was never ugly. In the first season of Boy Meets World, Topanga was portrayed as the nerdy, awkward, kinda-weird girl next door. It didn’t take Corey Matthews (Ben Savage) too long to fall in love with her, though, and fans of the show were treated to a classic will-they-or-won’t-they dynamic long before Friends made it a thing. Danielle Fishel captured the hearts of prepubescent boys for seven years. She is still gorgeous, but we’ll always remember Fishel as Topanga, the girl next door.
9. Danica McKellar - 'The Wonder Years'
Speaking of girls next door, Winnie Cooper is the girl we always wished we lived next to. Danica McKellar played Winnie Cooper in The Wonder Years for five years, and in those five years, she made us fall in love with her, she broke our hearts, and she won us back. Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) never really deserved Winnie Cooper, so we were glad to hear that eventually in the show’s timeline, she met and fell in love with somebody else. We’ve spent the past 20 years wishing it was us.
8. Boy Bands - Any of Them
Backstreet’s back, all right. But, honestly, did they ever really leave? Not from our hearts, at least. Nor did N’Sync, Savage Garden, LFO, O-Town, or the OG boy band New Kids on the Block. Boy bands were all the rage in the ‘90s and we’d be lying if we said we didn’t have at least one poster hanging up on our wall. We just liked the music, OK?
7. Marley Shelton - 'The Sandlot'
“She knows what she’s doing. She knows exactly what she’s doing.” Yikes. OK, so, what Squints did to Wendy Peffercorn (Marley Shelton) was not cool. In the #metoo age, that never would have flown. But the ‘90s were a simpler time, and fake drowning to make out with the hot lifeguard was more "cute" than "creepy." And honestly, could we blame him? It’s Wendy Peffercorn! She is the only girl that makes even Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez stammer. Wendy Peffercorn drifted in and out of our dreams for years since the release of 1993’s The Sandlot. She was the embodiment of every girl we’ve ever wanted but could never have. We’ve spent our lives chasing Wendy (metaphorically, not literally. We’re not Squints.) but we will never get her. We’ll never get anything ever again.
6. John Stamos - 'Full House'
“Have mercy.” That’s what housewives everywhere said to the universe every time John Stamos was featured in the hit sitcom, Full House. Stamos played the rebellious, Elvis-worshiping Uncle Jesse, and we were all smitten. He could almost pass as his idol if we squinted our eyes. When he and Aunt Becky got married, we swooned. When he played the guitar, we melted.
And when he sang “Forever,” we died. Literally died.
5. Alicia Silverstone - 'Clueless'
She’s not doing much these days, but in the ‘90s there was nobody better than Alicia Silverstone. Clueless put her on the map but she was more than just a one-trick-pony. She could play mean and scary (The Crush) or feisty and heroic (Batman & Robin). She did all of it in a way that made our hearts patter and our collective breaths catch. Alicia Silverstone was the love of our lives for a few years, and if you disagree, we only have one word for you: Whatever.
4. Tom Cruise - ‘Top Gun,’ ‘Risky Business,’ ‘Cocktail’
Tom Cruise, sliding across the floor in his underwear. That’s all you need to know. That’s all that matters.
3. Britney Spears - 'Baby One More Time'
Now, as adults, we realize how weird and creepy it was to dress up a legitimate teenager in a Catholic school uniform for a music video. But, when we were 12, there was nothing better than the music video for "Baby One More Time." Britney Spears was a young woman when she first entered our living rooms via television and radio. We’ve literally watched her grow up, meltdown and all. She's remained one of the most authentically beautiful women we have ever seen. It started in the ‘90s and it remains, still.
2. Leonardo DiCaprio - 'Titanic'
Every girl in the history of girls had a crush on Leonardo DiCaprio in 1996. While Leo already had a fairly impressive career before ’96 (Growing Pains and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape were exceptional) it was Titanic that launched him into the stratosphere and right into our hearts. His hair, eyes, and devil-may-care attitude immediately endeared him to an entire generation. The fact that he went on to become one of the world’s greatest actors is just the icing on the cake. Men respect Leo. Women love him. And all of us want him to “draw us like your French girls.”
1. Brad Pitt - 'Interview With A Vampire,' 'Thelma and Louise,' 'Legends of the Fall'
Brad Pitt is literally the standard-bearer for heartthrobs. He was in the ‘90s and he still is today. Whether he has long hair or short hair, a beard, a goatee or a baby face, it is impossible for Brad Pitt to look anything but gorgeous. We can understand why Thelma and Louise were so smitten with him. He is the Alpha and Omega of celebrity crushes and it’s a mantle that will never be taken from him. He is part of a very exclusive club of actors that make our knees weak. We’d tell you more, but this club has a certain rule…